Oct 20 2012

…and done…

We’ll see if this changes some (it’s changed quite a bit already from what I got this morning)… but mission accomplished! Bettered PR by about 8 minutes.

bib number: 1783
age: 34
gender: M
location: Lansing, KS
overall place: 318 out of 1461
division place: 52 out of 146
gender place: 266 out of 920
time: 3:48:51
pace: 8:45
5ksplit: 29:36.21
10ksplit: 56:31.30
13.1split: 1:56:59.98
21msplit: 3:02:53.98
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Oct 19 2012

Marathon tomorrow…

Hmmm… well here I am yet again. Marathon tomorrow. It’s really strange to think that 4 years ago almost to the day I was sitting probably in this same spot, drinking the same beer, typing on the same blog. Seriously!? When taken out of context that sounds rather boring! Well, I’m listening to some different music 🙂 Isn’t that nice? …and sure its a different computer, different running goal, different outlook… different… well…

Here was that post: “Marathon is tomorrow!!” #94… this will be #1,207 if I decide to click publish. A few posts between then and now!

Well like I said… its the same situation: it’s late, I’ve had a few beers (that’s CARBS you know!) and its time to get some sleep. Although it looks like I posted 8:30pm back in 08… its now almost 11pm! But that’s fine. Right on schedule.

ZZZZZZZ see you tomorrow.

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Oct 19 2012

3rd Annual CAC/STB FMWR Half-Marathon Results

Unfortunately these are very partial; I only have results for the top 20 men finishers in the 1/2 Marathon only.

There was a 5k and a 10k and obviously Women’s for each event — but I only got what I have! I’ve looked for the results elsewhere online… (they were supposed to have been posted on Active / FMWR) but I’ve been unable to locate them thusfar… so I will include what I have here:

Place Div/Tot Bib Name Age Official Time Pace
1 1/3 139 Brian Parker 40 1:31:12 6:58
2 1/10 121 Ivan Hurlburt 37 1:35:04 7:16
3 2/3 135 Nimrod Spilman 42 1:42:21 7:49
4 2/10 120 Sonny Hatton 36 1:43:19 7:54
5 3/10 107 Michael Buchanan 35 1:43:19 7:54
6 3/3 101 Craig Aitchison 44 1:44:45 8:00
7 4/10 137 Bob Wooten 34 1:47:34 8:13
8 5/10 122 Jarred Lang 35 1:47:39 8:14
9 1/5 116 Patrick Ginka 27 1:48:22 8:17
10 6/10 138 Matthew Ziglar 37 1:49:00 8:20
11 7/10 132 Sean Russell 36 1:49:51 8:24
12 8/10 125 Matt Molly 33 1:54:22 8:44
13 2/5 127 Christopher Ontiveros 28 1:57:04 8:57
14 3/5 141 Devon Corrias 24 1:57:21 8:58
15 1/1 134 Chez Shafer 63 2:05:25 9:35
16 9/10 102 Ed Arntson 32 2:06:58 9:42
17 ? 113 Wayne Dunlap ? 2:08:42 9:50
18 4/5 143 Justin Cox 26 2:11:07 10:01
19 5/5 142 William Ernest 28 2:16:11 10:24
20 10/10 133 Terrail Saffo 37 2:20:05 10:42

So there you have it. This is a tough course too which I think I’ve mentioned before… so each of those times should be a little more impressive than normal!

If I ever locate the complete results I’ll be sure to post them and/or link to them. If you locate them yourself, you could let me know in the comments too!

As for a race report for this one… well… there was a 5k, a 10k and a Half-Marathon. There were maybe 50-55 people total across all three? It was an enjoyable cool, rainy morning on a tough hills which was basically a solo run.

On the way out it was cool, not raining, and so quiet on top of Brunner Ridge (save my own footfalls) that I could have been miles and miles from civilization… a very enjoyable run.

On the way back it was raining quite steadily, and I had donned my headphones which were blasting very coincidentally appropriate tunes which really helped me charge it home.

There’s plenty more to say – including such unfortunate faults as the 5k route being incorrectly described and the ‘ol 360 spinning race arrows which pointed every which way at times… but despite these things — it was a nice time and a welcome and conveniently scheduled measure of my readiness for the KC Full tomorrow!

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Oct 16 2012

2012 Kansas City Marathon

The deadline to sign up online for the Kansas City Marathon was yesterday October 14th – and that’s when I finally made the commitment to run the full 26.2. I’m quite excited about it as I haven’t run the KC Full since 2008 and in 2009 just completed the half… I quite remember though that this is one of the absolute best races around for a multitude of reasons and just being part of it is a tremendous experience.

This blog was actually born in support of the 2008 KC Marathon – a training log which strove for the eventual attained goal of a sub four hour marathon. These days it’s mostly a useful tool for me to go back and see when and where I was ailing, winning, or just rambling…

As of late…

I returned to the Haven’s Trail run as the defending champion… ran about a minute faster and earned 3rd overall. I was pleased enough with this.

Ran a half-marathon on whim this past Saturday supposing that it would be a decent metric for ascertaining my ability to complete this coming Saturday’s Kansas City Marathon; as you may have surmised from the opening sentence of this writing it was a resounding success. The affectionately named CAC/STB FMWR Half-Marathon is actually a decently tough course which contains one of if not the largest hills in Leavenworth County. This monster which I have referred to previously as “Murderest” is indeed a beast but I was quite ready for it and even sprinted this one home finishing 7 minutes faster than my previous best. I’m quite happy to now run just about any half marathon in the “140s” instead of “150s”… I’m a 140 guy now! The next goal of course will be 130s 🙂

So what do I do about being a 3:57 marathon guy? Shoot for 3:45 of course! I felt really good at the end of this most recent 13, but as any marathoner knows… 13 miles is only half-way there. Shit can really start to hit the fan at about mile 18 for me… so we will see how it goes. I’m going to line up with the 3:45 group and see if I can hang on – the smart pacing may just allow me to do it as I have failed in pacing myself in some previous marathons. If all else fails I’d be pleased enough to run it in with the 4:00 pace group… led by Al Murano who helped me back in 2008 achieve the sub 4 marathon.

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Sep 14 2012

2012-2013 Leavenworth Race Series

Once upon a time, in the year 2010, there was supposed to have been a Leavenworth Race Series of sorts which would consist of the 5k River Run, The Haven’s 5k Trail Run, and the 7.2 Mile Rudolph’s Red Nose Run. Now I don’t know if no one qualified, if they forgot about it, it just fell apart, or I simply heard nothing about it as *I* didn’t qualify — but as far as I know nothing ever came of it.

A shame too because I thought I might have earned some recognition… I placed 3rd overall/1st in Age Group at the River Run, 4th overall/1st in Age Group at the Haven’s, and wait… here we go: A dismal 18th at Rudolph’s but still 4th in Age Group. Perhaps that last run took me out of the standings.

In any case there never was too much info about it. I think I simply read a one line mention in one of the Leavenworth Parks & Rec flyers and never saw it mentioned again. So I will assume they dropped it.

THIS year however there is another Race Series — and this time around it looks like it’s going to be well promoted and actually has some information available about it.

Thusfar it will consist of the following races:

  • Buffalo Century 5k Run  – SEP 16 8AM Leavenworth Riverfront Community Center
  • Haven’s 5k Trail Run – OCT 6 9AM Haven’s Park
  • Cliff Hanger 5k/8k – NOV 4 8AM/9AM Cliff Drive 4600 Gladstone Blvd Kansas City, MO
  • Rudolph’s Red Nose Run 7.2 Mile – DEC 1 12PM High Noon Saloon
  • St. Patrick’s Day 4 Mile Run 9 MAR 2013 10AM Westport Rd.
  • IMAC St. Paddy’s Day 5k “Run for the Green” – MAR 16 Time TBD Place TBD
  • Five Trails Half Marathon – MAY 19 2013

It sounds like there will possibly be even more races added, and additionally a website set up and custom logo.

For now here are some preliminary scoring rules:

1)    Earn points based on participation, performance in 5-year age groups from 20-24 thru 80+, and volunteer at a Leavenworth Races Series event.

2)    Scoring is 5 deep in each 5 year age group:

i)     10 points for 1st place
ii)    8 points for 2nd place
iii)   6 points for 3rd place
iv)   4 points for 4th place
v)    2 points for 5th place
vi)   3 points for volunteering
vii) 1 point for participation

I find the volunteering points and participation points interesting! Looks like there could potentially be a lot of scoring… what with those and even up to 5th place garnering points.

Looking forward to this new chapter in Leavenworth County’s ever-expanding racing opportunities!

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Aug 13 2012

Ken Bernard Park Trail

Should you go running on the Ken Bernard Park trail?


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Jul 15 2012

Psycho Psummer 20 (approx) 2012

In many ways this race was the same I’d done the past couple of years and in some ways it was different…

I was always going to run it — subconsciously signed up from the start. There wasn’t a decision making process. I just drank a few beers one night, and the next morning I was signed up. No matter… I would have signed up anyway right?

The week leading up to this race I was filled with a sense of dread and trepidation … I just supposed I wasn’t quite trained up. This didn’t turn out to be the case at all as I was hoping… so that’s good. The actual day before that nervousness began to fade and I became genuinely excited for it if a little anxious.

Race morning came and I made it down there just fine. Same shelter, same starting area, same parking spot. I really count myself lucky that in all the places in the world I could have ended up – its just a 20 minute drive to WyCo lake park and well within the radius of virtually all Trail Nerds runs. I also count myself, and the rest of the KC running community lucky that Dick Ross of SeeKCRun is so generous and eager to show up to running events time after time after time… no matter how big or small or far. It’s so nice having that service!

Well there is a large crowd gathered wearing yellow for 50k, blue for 20 miler, and white for 10 miler. From what I can tell the vast majority of people are wearing yellow… I am really shocked at everyone wearing yellow. Many look well prepared and like seasoned veterans, but some downright look like newbies out for a 5k. I’m well aware however that looks can be madly deceiving and so I don’t really think on it much. Also, there will likely be many more white bib runners showing up shortly as there is still an hour to go until their start time.

After a few very short words by Ben the race is started promptly on time at 8:00. There may be a few more than last year… its a pretty good crowd but not overly crowded. I spot a few “big names” such as Mindy Coolman who won last year and who two years ago I ran with for a while trying to keep with her harrowing pace. I saw a couple of other runners I conversed with on the course last year and an old neighbor of mine who is obsessed with trail running. That’s not a bad obsession.

Well its across the fields and into the woods. Quite crowded but moving along quickly enough. About the 1.6 mile mark I nearly wiped out and made a remarkable recovery I thought. Easy to do as this course is ROUGH! There is no mud this year, NONE. Not one tiny itsy bitsy little bit. I had thought in the weeks leading up to the race that our epic drought this summer would be a good test for the question: “How sadistic is Ben Holmes?” There has been so much mud in years past – so much – I’d had visions of the RD and minions with tanks of water in weeks and days leading up to the race making huge tracts of mud and working quite hard to make several sections almost impassible. Not so; my fears were unfounded. There was not a drop of liquid on this course that was not from a bottle or a sweat gland… it was bone dry.

Well no mud made for fairly quick running. I guess the ground wasn’t as soft in some places and the dust kicking up was enough to choke at times… but for the most part the lack of mud made for some quick traveling down trails where it was quite apparent you *would* have been mucking it through. I continued to trip along almost wiping out again and then eventually having a small wipe out and then almost wiping out again. I was having a hell of a time staying on my feet today… the course didn’t really thin out too much until after the first aid station… and then after the second (first big station) thinned out some more… but still people close by at all times.

As I closed on the first loop I noted the familiar hills here. There’s like 3 or 4 or 5 or 6… a couple of them are tough, and one of them is downright f&%king hard. But anyhow… on the first go-round they weren’t too bad. I walked up them briskly as with most hills… noted my Garmin beeping the 10th mile about .6 miles from the finish line making this 20 miler a good 21.2 miler. Trotted down to the finish line where I saw the two clocks going with the two start times… that is nice… were they like that in past years?

Still feeling ok I headed out again for the second loop. Field is pretty spread out now, but still a few people on either side as we enter the trails at the top of the hill for the true entrance to round two…

I think I’ve discovered the problem with all this wiping out I’m doing today. I’ve been following people too closely (sorry!) and thereby have been unable to view the upcoming trail at the optimal planning distance which at a decent pace should realistically be about 10 feet? Problem is of course with someone there in front of me that far in front is hidden. So yeah, now… running by myself THIS is better!

For the first couple miles on lap two I’m busting ass. For the trail I’ve run so far and the trail I know that lies ahead… I’m really kicking a pace here. Why? I would like an even split I guess (first lap 2:06), or just a good time (for me). I did a little bit of preparation the night before see… I saw 2:09 and 2:29 for laps 1 and 2 last year, total 4:38. So I set my watch for 13:15 pace which I’ll need to conquer to finish under 4:38 for 21 miles. That’s all I wanna do… just beat last year’s time. But would I like to beat it soundly? Hell yea I would. That little no mud thing is making a big difference too, probably… I concede the probably because I’d like to just think I was out there killin’ it this year and gettin’ it done compared to last year. Well… last year I was trudging through mud… although last year’s mud was nothing compared to 2010 mud… but I digress… where was I? Oh yeah… I was running fast on those first few miles of lap two, feeling good if a little fragile.

Cruising along each aid station does provide a nice interlude and each time I leave one I feel so refreshed I could sprint to the finish — this thought is always quickly dashed on the next hill. For the first entire lap I had been thinking things like “Maybe I should have signed up for the 50k” “Wow, I think I could really do the 50k after all” “This should have been the year I signed up for the 50k” “If I didn’t have other commitments right after this, I might could even step UP to the 50k today!”. Yeah… that was lap 1.

Now lap two has continued to go quite well until the final 3 miles. Those last 3 miles are soul crushing. There’s that hill… it’s not the first of the last ones and its not the last one… I think it’s second or third to last? It doesn’t look that daunting or seem that different than the other ones… but its a killer. Literally in fact. I saw three corpses (fresh) on the way up. Now the entire race the entire time on any race… I don’t think I’ve ever once “stopped” — I’ve walked slow, trudged, crawled, maybe stood still for a few moments to pee or consume something… but I don’t believe I’ve ever stopped before. On this hill, today, I did… stop. I stood there for a moment, hands on my knees bent over and took several breaths. Then I continued on. This hill could do that. It will make you stop.

Well, I continued on this sadistic twisted course for the last 3 miles that feels like groundhog’s day. The damn thing never ends. It’s one more hill, around the next bend, across one more road, wait, one more hill… it just goes and goes. My GPS already died a couple miles back – nearly same place it did last year I think. Do I need a new one? Possibly… and the course keeps going. I’ve had some mild cramps, nothing really bad but the cramps always scare me. That’s what scares me about a 50k… that they’ll just get worse and worse until I can run no more.

Well its been 33 kilometers anyway… and thankfully that sadistic race director has had a kind streak somewhere in his planning when he allowed for the course end to be down hill, so therefore I’m able to run it in looking strong.

Well that’s that. I get handed a great looking medal and to my utter delight an ice cold beer. I’m also delighted to see a 4:24 on the clock beating my last year’s time by 14 minutes.

Now I’m thinking October Lake Perry 50k… Hmmmm….

(maybe here’s why I was wiping out all day… running with eyes closed)

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Jun 9 2012

Army Birthday 10k

I meant to post a couple weeks ago, a warning about the Army Birthday Marathon if you are planning on doing the full. Murderest will do it’s best to kill you. Of course, some of us like that sort of thing anyway… so what good’s a warning?

I am running the 10k which I have smartly decided on for a multitude of reasons which I have based on several predictions – which, if they run their course, I will happily clue you in on later.

Of course, should they falter… I can always just delete this post…

And by the way… I’ve been watching Radiohead on this live Bonnaroo concert on YouTube for the past couple hours. Great show! It has really delayed – my already and often delayed – Hospital Hill Run Race Report 2012 which you should see below… Can’t believe I actually managed to get this year’s done… but er uh… if the last bit sounds rushed or makes no sense — that’s why… just trying to get it done.

So… Army Birthday 10k tomorrow (Sat)… On the Run 5k (Sun)… and I think I might try for a race next weekend too. I’ve also got a race lined up while I’m ON an upcoming vacation… then plan on the All Star 5k with my son, and THEN the 20 mile PSYCHO RUN. That sounds appropriate right?! Maybe I’ll take a break after all of that… or maybe not. Kansas City Full this fall sounds like it could be happening too… so… for now… zzzz….

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Jun 8 2012

Post Hospital Hill Run 2012 Thoughts…

Another year done, sixth in a row for me. In many ways the course and event were the same but from year to year there are a few things that change…

This year the start corrals were instituted. They seemed to be somewhat “soft” barriers (before the race started) as they would allow you to cross over into another corral if you really wanted to no problem — but there was the suggestion to stay put. I imagine most people did… after all, they were organized where runners had volunteered that they would be running / finishing in that time period. When I registered I chose 1:53 for my projected finish time. A little later on I decided I was going to go for 1:48. My original prediction put me in corral C while my new goal was corral B. My bib said “C” but I had no trouble crossing the rope into B and starting there.

I wanted to line up with the 1:50 group and then stay with them and then end up finishing a couple minutes ahead of them. I further supposed the best course of action would be to line up in between the 1:45 group and the 1:50 group and see neither one again… for the most part that is exactly what happened.

For those curious – the corrals did indeed have staggered starts. Corral A started at approximately 7:00. Corral B at 7:01 – and presumably – Corral C at 7:02, etc, etc. From what I saw everyone took this in stride as it was communicated to the crowd right before it happened. There was no complaining that I saw and complete cooperation – and that’s great of course! Perhaps that what was expected – and you would hope it would be… I only really have one thing to compare it to which was the Chicago Marathon I ran last year… In THAT race the human wall that separated the Seeded Corrals from the open corral was nearly trampled as it began to burst at the seams behind me. Most reasonable runners realize that your chip time is your official time, your PR time, and clock time just becomes another cool anecdote – so starting 5 minutes after 7:00 is fine even — time doesn’t start for you until you’re across the line.

Ok – so it went smoothly. How did it compare to years past? I never had any trouble in years past really although in one respect I would say it was greatly improved. That is, the general density and congestion even before the race started. Usually it’s cram-packed shoulder to shoulder and this year there definitely felt as if there was breathing room – everywhere! Sure it was still crowded but you actually had room to sit down and stretch if you wanted and this didn’t relinquish – right up to the start of the race. There was such a difference in fact that I wondered if the announced record field was actually in fact smaller than past years – it wasn’t. There were 6,600+ lined up.

So I started at 7:01 with corral B. One fun aspect over the first couple of miles was every time we crested a hill and I got a look at the field in front of me there was the usual mass of runners but this year there was a nice huge gap with a scattered few runners in-between it and then the mass of the “A” corral runners.

Another thing I noticed is that when it was the mass start… you’d immediately be passing people left and right and having people sprinting past you right and left as everyone vied for their position and pacing rhythm…  fading from their overly ambitious start position or latecomers galloping forward to unite with likewise runners and pace teams — with the corral start it seemed as if most people were going one speed… this made it a little more difficult to pass as no obvious lanes presented themselves, but everyone was going at least an adequate speed I suppose. I went out fast I thought, perhaps too fast remembering past instances of going out to strong early and past pacing teams that went out moderately and worked into good paces eventually. I was a little unsure and in a sort of mode where I was treating Hospital Hill with special care… certainly didn’t want to overdo it too early as I believe I did the year prior when I missed my goal by 8 minutes or so.

I was ahead of the 1:45 and 1:50 pace groups from Corral B through mile 4 or 5. Here 1:45 passed me, but that was mostly the plan… finish between them and 1:50. They actually looked pretty serious as they passed me in formation… some serious runners there. I think now, that I probably could have hung with them the rest of the way no problem… but I was just still a little apprehensive. I kept my steady non-pace team pace.

This being my sixth HHR I really feel like I know the course well now. I looked upon every mile with recognition and memories of past years… every stretch is quite familiar and I’m continually pleasantly surprised to encounter them all as I turn corners and crest hills with a smile on my face. Each landmark a silent mile marker.

Well 1:45 was passed and I never saw them again, and the group that I didn’t want to catch me, the 1:50 group I never saw again either. It all went according to plan! I hit the mile 5 aid station and downed a gel, a full cup of gatorade — (which was mixed SO tightly it was very salty! YUM!), and even some water and walked for a brief moment. After this I was fully refreshed and also quite warmed up. The temperature was absolutely perfect and for the remainder of the race I never once felt a twinge of a cramp, never once was “beat” on a hill or had to slow due to any sort of uncomfortable sensation whatsoever… in short… I felt great! There was a point… around mile 7 – Meyer and Brookside – where last year… I was soooooo grateful for buckets of ice waiting there which I scooped up handfuls of and melted them on my forehead and neck… which helped to cool me down greatly. Here this day however, I daresay I was just moderately sweating and not at all hot or tired or uncomfortable.

The weather was so perfect I guess I should have just gone for an overall Half Marathon PR after all… but I was still well on track to run a nice HHR PR, so that’s what I stuck with. Then even at mile 11 or so I felt as if I had a second wind and picked it up a little. Broadway hill wasn’t too bad this time… Trinity hill I knew would be there… and I heard someone remark it cruel… yes it kinda is… but I bounded up it and ran it in at a very brisk but comfortable pace. It was here in 2008 I believe I over exerted myself and had some blood vessels in my calves pop and cramp as I ran the final 400m or — attempted to sprint in some fashion… that was a scary moment then… but not so this time.

I ran it in comfortably and knew what I had awaiting me… Three Little Pigs BBQ, a beer (sadly not boulevard, but I suppose I’ll drink any free beer), flip flops, etc.

In the eating area was live video of people crossing the finish line and an enthusiastic DJ. Last year there was a band here… but the DJ was sufficient I think. Speaking of bands there were a few out on the course and they were enjoyable. The one though, shortly after the turn onto Brookside… was the same spot this year and last in which I got a big adrenaline boost. That’s the spot 🙂

Well, anyway… watching this live video it occurred to me that Hospital Hill is just this technologically bleeding edge, over the top, commercialized, blaring, furious heart pounding, glamorous, in your face, concrete, trendy blue, tasty, better than well done, furiously organized, bright, new-and-improved event! Hospital Hill Run has some of the best swag ever too that is just, as I’ve said before, bombastic. There is nothing wrong with any of those adjectives either…. Hospital Hill is old, storied, it is-what-it-is and its one of the best pulled off and organized races from top to bottom anywhere. I guess I have this perfect scent of it in my mind’s eye but it’s difficult to convey. You’ll just have to run it yourself six times and see what you think.

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Jun 3 2012

Hospital Hill Run 2012 by the numbers

Let’s revisit the 2011 and 2010 numbers by looking at the 2012 numbers shall we?

Participation Year by Year:

Year Total Half 10k 5k Increase
2006 2692 1339 594 759 N/A
2007 3036 1545 710 781 344
2008 3434 1823 817 794 398
2009 4829 2400 1273 1156 1395
2010 6176 2970 1528 1678 1347
2011 6584 3172 1410 2002 406
2012 6610 3355 1531 1724 26

And then my updated numbers…

Year Date Time Overall Age Gender Pace
HH 07 6/2/2007 1:56:32 637/1545 59/105 479/955 8:54
41% 56% 50%
HH 08 6/7/2008 1:54:57 390/1823 41/111 290/993 8:47
21% 36% 29%
HH 09 6/6/2009 1:51:37 668/2400 102/204 521/1267 8:32
27% 50% 41%
HH 10 6/5/2010 1:48:42 443/2970 72/258 360/1502 8:18
15% 28% 24%
HH 11 6/4/2011 1:54:51 595/3164 90/278 450/1604 8:46
18% 32% 28%
HH 12 6/2/2012 1:47:23 660/3348 83/246 514/1695 8:12
19% 33% 30%
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